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February 27, 2014 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Q. James Likoudis had an article in The Wanderer which indicated that the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin was essentially accomplished by John Paul II in 1984. I think that you concurred with that belief in a previous column. My question is this: Did she not say that if the consecration was accomplished, there would be world peace? I don’t think that any sane person would state that we have had world peace at any time since 1984.
Therefore, the only two conclusions that seem possible are: 1) that the consecration did not take place or 2) that the Virgin is a liar.
We know that the Virgin cannot lie so it seems that conclusion one is most likely. Your thoughts? — W.C.M., via e-mail.
A. Our thought is that there is a conclusion three, namely, that the Blessed Virgin never promised that world peace would immediately follow the consecration of Russia. All she said was that world peace would come about at some time in the future. Here are her words on July 13, 1917: “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”
There is no indication of when that period of peace will come about.
But the consecration of Russia was not the only condition. Our Lady also mentioned the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays, saying that “if my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecution of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated.”
While many good people have for years taken part in the First Saturday devotion, and continue to do so today, we believe that many more will have to do so in order to bring about the period of peace promised by Our Lady of Fatima.

Q. As Lent approaches, we again hear that Jesus wasn’t nailed to the cross through the hands, but through the wrists. Although all things are possible with God, I think Mel Gibson had it correct in The Passion of the Christ, wherein Christ was nailed through the hands and was also tied to the cross around the wrists. Through 2,000 years, our crucifixes and paintings have depicted nailing through the hands, not to mention the numerous incidents of the stigmata, e.g., St. Francis of Assisi, Padre Pio, etc. What say you? — G.B., via e-mail.
A. The stigmata have a mystical significance and do not necessarily duplicate the physical location of the five wounds of Christ. This is true, for example, of the wound from the lance, which most authorities place on Jesus’ right side, but which some stigmatists have on the left side. In A Doctor at Calvary, his classic medical account of the Passion and death of Jesus, Dr. Pierre Barbet said:
“The exact localization of these stigmata is not always the same, but it varies throughout the whole extent of the metacarpal zone, as far as being very near to the wrists. We should come to the conclusion that the stigmatists can give us no information either as to the position or the form of the wounds of the Crucifixion” (p. 105).
As evidence of the spiritual significance of the wounds, Barbet cited the words of stigmatist Theresa Neumann, who told one of her friends: “Do not think that Our Savior was nailed in the hands, where I have my stigmata. These marks only have a mystical meaning. Jesus must have been fixed more firmly on the Cross.”
It was Barbet who discovered through experimentation on corpses that a nail placed in the palm of the hand would not support a man’s weight. He found, however, that there was a spot where the palm met the wrist that would take a nail and would support the body of a man. His most startling finding was that when a nail pierced this spot, it partly severed the median nerve, causing unbelievable pain but also causing the thumb to jerk inward against the palm.
This corresponded exactly to the bloodstain on the Shroud of Turin. Not only did the bloody wound appear on the back of the wrist in the pictures of the crucified Man on the Shroud, but the image of the hands, with the palms downward, showed no sign of thumbs.
Crucifixes and paintings done long before Barbet’s book came out in the 1950s did not have the benefit of his scientific research, but many crucifixes produced since that time now show the nails through Jesus’ wrists. By the way, it is not surprising to see ropes around the arms of those portraying Christ in the movies. What actor would agree to be fixed to the cross with nails through his hands and feet?

Q. A friend asked a priest if it was a sin to talk in church, and the priest said no. But isn’t it a sin of disrespect to the Real Presence of Jesus? Sometimes the church sounds like the lobby of a movie theater. — C.R., Pennsylvania.
A. Of course it’s disrespectful to talk loudly in church and to treat the church as if it were a shopping mall. What kind of sin it is depends on the awareness of the persons making all the noise. Many of them are probably oblivious to how disrespectful their behavior is, or perhaps they don’t even recognize the Real Presence of Jesus in the tabernacle. You don’t see many of them genuflect, that’s for sure.
It is long past time for priests to call people’s attention to the Person who makes the church a sacred place. We don’t recall reading in the Gospels about talking, laughing, and backslapping on Calvary.

Q. Can you give me a quick and easy explanation for why women cannot be ordained to the priesthood? — S.H., Massachusetts.
A. Basically, there are four reasons:
First, the priest at the altar stands in the person of Jesus, so just as you would not choose a man to play the role of the Blessed Mother, you would not choose a woman to play the role of Christ. Second, Jesus is often referred to as the Bridegroom and the Church as His Bride. So it would not be appropriate to have a woman as the bridegroom. Third, Jesus did not choose women to be priests though He had many well-qualified women whom He could have chosen, including His own Mother. Fourth, for a sacrament to be valid, there must be the proper matter. One cannot use Pepsi instead of water for Baptism, or beer instead of wine for the Eucharist. So, too, the proper matter for the Sacrament of Holy Orders is a baptized male.
This does not mean that women are inferior to men, anymore than beer is inferior to wine; it simply means that men and women, who are of equal dignity, have different roles in the Church.

Q. More and more cremations are taking place in our Church today. The family makes the arrangements with the funeral director before talking to the priest. Sometimes the ashes are placed in urns or left on china cabinets. Even necklaces and bracelets are made that contain the ashes of the deceased. What is the Church’s teaching on cremation? — M.W., Illinois.
A. The Church allows cremations as long as they are not chosen for reasons contrary to Catholic teaching (cf. canon 1176.3). Such reasons would include hatred of the Catholic Church or denial of the doctrine of the resurrection of the body. Since 1996, it has been permitted to celebrate a funeral Mass with only the cremated remains present. Prior to then, the body of the deceased had to be present for the Mass, and the cremation would follow. Many people are choosing this option today because it is considerably less expensive than a traditional funeral.
In the Church’s Order of Christian Funerals, it says that cremated remains “should be treated with the same respect given to the human body from which they come. The cremated remains should be buried in a grave or entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium (a shallow, sealed, recessed niche for ashes). The practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea, from the air, or on the ground, or keeping cremated remains in the home of a relative or friend of the deceased is not the reverent disposition that the Church requires.”
So leaving the ashes on one’s china cabinet or mantelpiece is prohibited. It is also prohibited, not to mention bizarre, to place the ashes inside a necklace or bracelet. Think of all the good one could do for the deceased by substituting for these practices the celebration of memorial Masses for the departed family member.

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Angola: Catholic Priest Refutes Criticism of Church Practices

Lubango — The Southern Huila province?s Lubango city emeritus archbishop, Zacarias Kamwenho, rejected as false the claim that Catholic Christians worship images. Speaking on Sunday in the Muxima Diocese, in Lubango, the archbishop explained that Catholic Christians worship God instead,…Continue Reading

Ave Maria School of Law Wins Its HHS Mandate Case in Federal Court

The Obama Administration has suffered another defeat in its quest to force Catholics and people of faith to pay for abortion-causing drugs, as required by the HHS Mandate. Today the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida came down…Continue Reading

Catholic Educators Appeal to Obama Administration for Relief from HHS Mandate

Today a coalition including The Cardinal Newman Society, leaders of Catholic schools and colleges, and the expert attorneys of the Alliance Defending Freedom told the Obama administration that its latest rule mandating insurance coverage for sterilization and contraception, including abortion-causing…Continue Reading

Toronto schools hosting ‘LGBTQ’ conference for students as young as 11

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is hosting three student conferences within the span of eight days for the purpose of LGBTQ activism.  The conferences, which have been organized in collaboration with Jer’s Vision, will take place on October 28,…Continue Reading

The Synod and the Media: Culpable Naïveté or Shrewd Calculation?

Upon becoming director of media relations for the American bishops in late 1969, I quickly made a crucial discovery about my new employers. With just a handful of exceptions, the bishops were painfully naïve about the news business, yet convinced…Continue Reading

Chaldean Catholic patriarch suspends 10 priests, including 1 from El Cajon

SAN DIEGO – The head of the Chaldean Catholic Church has suspended 10 priests, including one from El Cajon. Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako issued a decree a month ago, demanding the priests return to Iraq or be suspended. Wednesday…Continue Reading

Retired Pope Says Interreligious Dialogue No Substitute For Mission

VATICAN CITY – Retired Pope Benedict XVI said dialogue with other religions is no substitute for spreading the Gospel to non-Christian cultures, and warned against relativistic ideas of religious truth as “lethal to faith.” He also said the true motivation…Continue Reading

California Forces Churches to Directly Fund Abortions, Churches Refuse to Comply

To the dismay of California’s people of faith, the California Department of Managed Health Care has reclassified abortion as a “basic health service” under the Affordable Care Act and ordered all insurance plans in the state to begin covering surgical…Continue Reading

Relax. God’s Still In Charge.

It’s an enormous challenge to maintain pristine doctrinal purity while at the same time respond to the experiential, personal, and difficult needs of married couples and families. Behind every arcane discussion of gradualism and natural law there are parents and…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: The “Relatio Synodi” Is “A Significant Improvement Over The Text Of The ‘Relatio Post Disceptationem'”

In a third short interview with CWR, conducted by e-mail late yesterday, Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, offers his impression of the Relatio Synodi, comments on reports that the Synod has…Continue Reading

Synod Final Document Reaffirms Church Teaching

The final document of the Extraordinary Synod was released Saturday as the Synod Fathers voted to approve all 62 paragraphs, but with three paragraphs not receiving the normally required two-thirds majority vote. The three paragraphs, which in the past would…Continue Reading

Catholic Synod: Gay Rights Groups ‘Disappointed’

Catholic gay rights groups say they are disappointed after bishops rejected proposals for wider acceptance of gay people, which had the Pope’s backing. The call to “accept and value” homosexuals was in a draft report, but failed to win the…Continue Reading

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Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Writes Personal Ordinariate Of Our Lady Of Walsingham

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(Vatican Radio) Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has sent a message to the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, which was established for former Anglicans in England in 2011.  The message was on the fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict’s apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, which was released on November 4th 2009. The Pope Emeritus was responding to a letter he received…Continue Reading

Pope At Audience: The Church Visible And Spiritual

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(Vatican Radio)  “Often, we hear people say: the Church doesn’t do this …the Church doesn’t do that!’ ‘Tell me who is the Church? – ‘Well the Church is the priests, the bishops, the Pope …’ We are all the Church! All of us all of us Baptized! We are the Church, the Church of Jesus’”. This was the message at…Continue Reading

Pope At Angelus: Love Of God And Neighbour Are Inseparable

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with pilgrims and tourists gathered in St Peter’s Square beneath the window of the Papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican on Sunday. In remarks ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion, the Holy Father offered some reflections on the Gospel reading of the day, which was taken from Gospel…Continue Reading

Pope At Santa Marta: Called To Be Children Of Light

(Vatican Radio) At morning Mass on Monday Pope Francis said that a conscientious examination of our words will help us understand whether we are Christians of light, Christians of darkness or Christians of grey areas. Reflecting on the First Reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, the Pope said men are recognizable by their words. By inviting Christians to…Continue Reading

Pass-Fail Grading: For The Professors’ Benefit?

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK S.M. writes to offer some observations about the proposal to introduce a “pass-fail” grading system for freshmen at Princeton University. The possibility of doing that was discussed in the October 9 edition of First Teachers. He sees the idea as a “form of grade inflation that is solely intended to accomplish…Continue Reading

Contemporary Culture Encapsulated In A Single Sentence

By DONALD DeMARCO It is remarkable how much a single sentence can reveal about the temper of a culture, even when its author is trying to be withholding. Jacalyn Duffin, a historian and practicing hematologist, is the author of History of Medicine (University of Toronto Press, 2000). It is a 243-page tome that was produced…Continue Reading

Synod Document Of October 13, 2014

By JOHN F. KIPPLEY (Editor’s Note: John F. Kippley is the author of Sex and the Marriage Covenant: A Basis for Morality and other books and articles. With his wife Sheila, he is a coauthor of Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach and cofounder of NFP International. This commentary appeared on his blog [johnkippley.com] of…Continue Reading

Elite Judges Think The Highest Judge Never Will End Their Misrule

By DEXTER DUGGAN Today people worry about globe-trotting terrorists, the transmission of the deadly Ebola virus, and the way contagions can cross borders when the government insists borders must be open for everyone’s alleged benefit. Meanwhile, unaccountable U.S. judges continue their contagion of immorality, as if God’s judgment never will come, maybe in little germs,…Continue Reading

Chilling Free Speech

By ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO Earlier this week, the federal government’s National Science Foundation, an entity created to encourage the study of science — encouragement that it achieves by awarding grants to scholars and universities — announced that it had awarded a grant to study what people say about themselves and others in social media. The…Continue Reading

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Temples Of The Holy Spirit

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Feast Of The Dedication Of St. John Lateran In Rome Readings: Ezek. 47:1-2, 8-9, 12 1 Cor. 3:9c-11, 16-17 John 2:13-22 Today we celebrate the feast of the dedication of a church building that many people have never heard of and also have no idea of its significance. In Rome, there are four major basilicas; the…Continue Reading

Message Of The Extraordinary Synod Of Bishops . . . We Ask You To Walk With Us Toward The Next Synod

(Editor’s Note: Below is the text of the concluding message of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family, held October 5-19. This message was released on October 18. (See Fr. Kevin M. Cusick’s column in this issue, p. 2B, and the front page for reporting and commentary on the separate final document of the Extraordinary Synod.) + + +…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Redefining Marriage: Not About The Kids And The Picket Fence

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Following the Extraordinary Synod and the rollback on confusing language about same-sex attraction and the divorced and remarried in the final version of the Relatio Synodi document, the predictable reactions are coming in. Those who continue to hold Church teaching that marriage is only between a man and a woman are labeled as “bigots,” while…Continue Reading

Debunking The Sola Scriptura Myth… True Tradition And False “Tradition”

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 4 A classical objection: What Catholics call the “Apostolic Tradition” is just a human tradition, which Jesus clearly condemned in the Gospel, when He said to the Pharisees, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?…So, for the sake of your tradition you have made void the…Continue Reading

Public Revelation Vs. Private Revelation

By DON FIER Our previous installment ended by citing a pair of remarkable verses from the Letter to the Hebrews, verses that concisely summarize God’s divine pedagogy, His master plan of divine Revelation: “In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by a…Continue Reading

Cast A Gauntlet – Sola Scriptura: Part 1

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Wolfgang

By CAROLE BRESLIN October 31 has come to be yet another Christian holy day corrupted by our secular society. All Hallows Eve, Halloween, is now celebrated with emphasis on evil and horror. Corn mazes with frightening objects around the corner, haunted houses to terrify even the bravest of persons, glorification of vampires, and decorations of death and witches — these…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Anthony Mary Claret

By CAROLE BRESLIN St. Anthony Mary Claret has something in common with at least three other saints. Like St. Peter Claver, he was born in northeastern Spain — over 200 years later. Like St. Pio of Pietrelcina, when he heard Confessions, he frequently could read the souls of the penitents, asking them about a sin that they had not confessed.…Continue Reading

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading